Cabramatta is well known for its colourfully lined laneways and arcades playing host to every Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian delight you can imagine. On the traditional land of the Cabrogal people of the Dharug Nation, Cabramatta is today one of Western Sydney’s most iconic multicultural suburbs. Busy with locals and visitors alike every day of the week, you’ll get lost in the atmosphere and flavours found on every street corner. But with so much to see and do, it’s always good to have a guide – WEST has you covered.
The best way to visit Cabramatta is to travel by train, which stops right in the heart of the action. Cabramatta’s town centre is made up of lots of streets and alleys waiting to be explored. To immerse yourself in the experience you must explore all the laneways, streets and alleys in and around the town centre. The colours, tastes and electric energy allow you to really be among the community.
The area is flourishing all year round, but the biggest and most popular time to visit Cabramatta is for Moon Festival in September – this year it’s in Cabramatta CBD on Sunday 17th September from 11am-8pm.
Start your day by visiting one of the many Southeast Asian cafes and sweet shops which are very popular among locals for their Vietnamese drink selections. A local favourite is Café Nho, in Belvedere Arcade and it is always busy with regulars. Start here and order one of the very popular Vietnamese iced coffee Ca Phe Sua Da made with real arabica beans, condensed milk, and ice. You’ll also see they have all kinds of other sweet desserts, ice-creams, and coffees.
You won’t be able to miss the iconic ‘Pai Lau’, a gate in the centre of Freedom Plaza which was opened in 1991 and has nine stone and bronze lion statues guarding the gate. The gateway represents the strong Southeast Asian community which makes up over 60 per cent of the local population. This pedestrian square is also where you’ll find the very popular Kaysone Sweets where you can try their iconic and delectable banana fritters as well as their other sweets. We love their colourful and retro aesthetic.
Cabramatta’s many plazas are small shopping centres home to even more stores. Walk through BKK Shopping Centre which is next to Freedom Plaza. This centre has plenty of restaurants, where you order at the counter and enjoy your meal at one of the food court tables. A popular one is Do Dee Paidang well known for their Thai noodles. The reality is, there are so many different restaurants with many different dishes, and so many different cuisines that you could try something new every time you visit, every single day. We love that!
There’s simply so much to see around every corner, so explore, discover, and be curious. Battambang Restaurant II is a very good option for authentic Cambodian Noodles (you’ll find it just further up from Café Nho in Belvedere Arcade). There’s also Vinh Phat, which always has a line out the front for their excellent Yum Cha and fresh seafood menu. It’s a great venue, but you need to be prepared to wait a little while, but it’s worth it.
Another hidden gem is Tan Hong BBQ who make some of the best BBQ duck and pork. Just tell them which one you want, and the providores will chop it up right in front of you. Super fresh, and incredibly tasty, just how the locals like it.
Council owned Dutton Plaza is another local hotspot. With a renovated façade and plenty of colour, this plaza is home to a host of retail stores, Asian supermarkets, cafes and even tables popular with resident mahjong players. You can also stop to read about the area’s Indigenous and recent history on the informative tiled wall outside the plaza.
Explore Dutton Lane where you’ll find an abundance of fruit and veggie shops, and grocery stores. You’ll also find Viet Hoa Fish Market which has an excellent range of fresh seafood and an Oyster Bar. There will be heaps of locals picking up their seafood for the day, so why not join and buy some fresh prawns or barramundi for later. Cabramatta is famous for fresh produce with endless variety.
If you’re hungry for a Vietnamese lunch, visit Phu Quoc on John Street. This restaurant serves classic and authentic Vietnamese dishes. From Combination Bun Dac Biet to Beef Stew with fresh bread, this small restaurant is so hearty and welcoming.
Next door is another classic Vietnamese restaurant Pho Tau Bay, which is equally popular. The reality is that Cabramatta is filled with so many great places to eat noodles, rice, and other classic Southeast Asian treats that you’ll have to keep coming back to try them all!
Finally, walk down the road and head to Cabravale Memorial Park. If you’re with children, this is the perfect place to let off some energy. With a great and safe playground equipped with a great flying fox and climbing tower. There is also a basketball court, handball courts, gym equipment, and table tennis tables.
Towards Railway Parade, there are two war memorials. The first is a Memorial Bandstand which pays tribute to the 22 soldiers from Cabramatta who died in the First World War. Further ahead is the Cabra-Vale Diggers Club Vietnam War Memorial which features two war-weary soldiers – one Australian and the other Vietnamese, together as allies and symbolic of modern day Cabramatta. This tribute to cultural harmony is not only appropriate given the historical period it commemorates, but situated in an area so significantly Vietnamese, the memorial takes on an even deeper meaning. It was sculpted by Do Trong Nhon.
A visit to Cabramatta is a truly and uniquely a Western Sydney experience. It’s a place where people from many parts of the world have come to call home and we love that with them, they have brought their culture and way of life. Exploring with WEST in Cabramatta you will get a taste of southeast Asia, and the privilege of sharing multiculturalism in Western Sydney.
This article is proudly presented by Fairfield City Council